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The Generals (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet) [Paperback]

Simon Scarrow
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Jan 2008 The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet (Book 2)

The second title in bestselling author Simon Scarrow's Revolution series: a quartet of novels focusing on two giants of European history, Wellington and Napoleon.

It's 1796 as THE GENERALS opens, and both Arthur Wellesley (later Wellington) and Napoleon Bonaparte are making their mark as men of military genius. Wellesley, as commander of the 33rd Regiment of Foot, is sent to India, where his skill and bravery make a remarkable impression on his superiors. Napoleon's role as commander of the Army of Italy leads to success in battle and rapid political progress. By 1804, Napoleon has established himself as Emperor, and has his sights set on conquering all of Europe. The time has come for Wellesley to stand against Napoleon in the confrontation that lies ahead.

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The Generals (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet) + Fire and Sword (Revolution 3) + The Fields of Death (Revolution 4)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; First printing of this edition edition (24 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755324366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755324361
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Scarrow's passion for writing began at an early age. After a childhood spent travelling the world he pursued his great love of history as a teacher, before becoming a full-time writer in 2005. Simon's Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro first stormed the book shops in 2000, and Simon continues to create one new adult Roman novel each year. Simon has many other literary projects in hand including a young adult Roman series and THE SWORD AND THE SCIMITAR, an epic tale of the Siege of Malta in the sixteenth century. To find out more about Simon Scarrow and his novels, visit and

Product Description


'This is how to bring history alive.. Scarrow draws together the parallel threads of these two giants of history while, at the same time, subtly emphasising the differences in their characters... Scarrow's descriptive powers bring battles to life, from the sweeping panoply of the big picture down to the individual mano-a-mano fights with sword and bayonet, lance and musket. He also gives the reader a greater understanding of how armies behaved in an age when the winner takes all and everyone else must lock up their doors. At times it is blood-churning stuff. THE GENERALS is fiction at its best with all the dash and fervour of a ripping yarn' (Nottingham Evening Post)

'One of the great duels in history, between two of its most fascinating characters. Simon Scarrow brings Wellington and Napoleon to life with a vengeance' (Paul Strathern, author of NAPOLEON IN EGYPT)

'Scarrow plunges into the aftermath of the French Revolution for another rip-roaring adventure story' (Yorkshire Evening Post)

'Scarrow builds up a fascinating picture of a world at war and sets the stage for the looming confrontation between these two military giants - an enthralling sequel' (Good Reading, Australia)

'The characters are real, so too the battles... brought vividly to life with the thriller writer's skill' (Nottingham Evening Post)

Book Description

Napoleon in Egypt. Wellington in India. An epic struggle for supremacy has begun.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maintains The Standard 13 Jun 2007
The Generals, the second volume of Simon Scarrow's series on the lives of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Athur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, picks up where volume one, Young Bloods, left off. Napoleon is a young officer in revolutionary France. Wellesley has returned from campaigning in the Low Countries and is stationed back in Dublin. Neither man is satisfied with his position in life and both are seeking advancement; although for differing motives.

From there The Generals follows both men's paths as they begin to advance their careers. Napoleon's takes him first to Italy, then on to Egypt before a triumphant return to France the assumption of dictatorial powers as First Consul. Wellesley's take him to India, where he is destined to remain for most of the book, converting the East India Company's slim holdings into the largest territory in the British Empire.

As a result The Generals covers some of the most fascinating moments in both men's lives in the period leading up to the commencement of the Iberian campaign. It deals with how both men won their reputations as military strategists and the events that shaped their future attitudes to war and politics.

It does all this very well, covering the most important events in sufficient detail but without forgetting that this is history as enjoyable fiction and getting bogged down in minutae.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre 7 Mar 2012
By Mr. Ross Maynard VINE VOICE
I was intrigued by the idea of a novel from the point of view of Napoleon and Wellington. It is an ambitious aim and, sadly, doesn't deliver. It is interesting to read about the development of their careers, but the novel itself is uninvolving and episodic. The story is told in quite a detached manner and the character development is poor. Napoleon, in particular, goes from ambitious and talented young man to a cold, cruel and self-obsessed general in a matter of a few pages. I suppose it is not the author's fault that the characters are bound to be aloof and obsessed with their own abilities, but the writing fails (for me at least) to engage in any meaningful way. I am very interested in the Napoleonic wars, but I struggled with this - there are far better books on the subject.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff 16 Nov 2008
The Generals is the second book of a four-part series chronicling the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte. The Generals carries off where the first book of the series, Young Bloods, finished. This is turning out to be an excellent series and The Generals is just as good, if not better, than Young Bloods. this is because in The Generals we are in the midst of the Revolutionary (later Napoleonic) Wars - thus there is plenty of military action, much more so than Young Bloods, which was more of a scene-setter.

The book covers Arthur Wellesley's (later the Duke of Wellington) campaigns in India, the highlight of which is his role in the defeat of Sultan Tipoo of Mysore and the capture of Tipoo's capital of Seringapatam. The India campaign also brings Arthur's logistical and tactical genius to the fore. Along with his brothers Richard (the Governor-General) and Henry, Arthur plays a leading role in establishing British control over the subcontinent.

Following his defeat of a royalist uprising in Paris, the book narrates Napoleon's rapid rise to become First Consul of France. This includes his campigns in Italy and Egypt and the coup that brings him ultimate political power. By the end of the book, Napoleon is established as First Consul for life and holds a virtual dictatorship (not always benevolent) over France. An important sub-plot is his fiery relationship with his wife Josephine, subject to infidelity by both parties. As Napoleon wields ever more power this has a detrimental effect on his relationship with Josephine, who feels a little left out.

There are one or two typos in the book but they will not detract from what is a fascinating novel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Bernard Cornwell generously said of Scarrow that "I really don't need this kind of competition", (although I am not sure, even though this is quoted on the back of the paperback, that he said it of this series). The fact is, however, that this is a very different kind of novel to those about Sharpe, Starbuck or Thomas of Horton, or indeed of Jack Aubrey, Horatio Hornblower , Matthew Hervey or of the many other heroes of historical fiction that are truly fictional. Does historical fiction based on the leading protagonists, especially where they are historically well chronicled, really work?

I have to admit that I struggle to remember reading a historical novel based so centred on real and well known historical characters. Claudius and Belisarius by Robert Graves, Alexander the Great by Steven Pressfield, but it is fair to say that very much less of the context and detail of those protagonists' lives were available to their authors. Wellington and Bonaparte have been documented and analysed to a very high degree. Nevertheless, Scarrow's "The Generals" shows that it can be done. His book suffers from the added difficulty that until they meet at Waterloo in June 1815, there is no direct interaction between the two.

Despite these structural difficulties, however, Scarrow brings alive the lives of Arthur Wellesley (future Duke of Wellington) and Napoleon Bonaparte in a compelling narrative. He does admit that there were occasions when he bent the history and tweaked time to make the story work - but I did not notice these in the life of Wellesley. (My knowledge of the details of Bonaparte's life is much less developed and so I would have been much less likely to have picked up anything there anyway.)

There is the odd anachronism.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
loved the series
Published 25 days ago by Hils
5.0 out of 5 stars Simon Scarrow at his best
Have always been a fan of Simon Scarrow and know I'm not going to be disappointed with this book
Published 1 month ago by Radio Fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very enjoyable and book in very good condition
Published 1 month ago by Alan Bedwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good read
Published 2 months ago by george reid
3.0 out of 5 stars Good follow up but an increasingly difficult balancing act
This is a good follow up to the first book in the series but the writing comes across like the author is struggling to retain sympathy with the Bonaparte character at the same time... Read more
Published 3 months ago by HistoryMan
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally encapsulating. As with revolution 1 a brilliant book
Revolution 1 was very good, a slow start but all part f the story. The second half of the first book was brilliant. Revolution 2 was just brilliant all the way through. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Brian P
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Great read if you are that way inclined--mixture of facts and fiction combined into a long but good read.
Worth a look
Published 4 months ago by michael james walsh
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction.
Excellent historical fiction - well researched. Will be reading the whole series as you really want to know where it's going.
Published 7 months ago by MR P R JACKSON
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets
I am not a fan of staight history but, Simon Scarrow really gets you to befriend the characters and start to live the stories. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Big T
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.
Have not finished breading it yet. The story is very well written, it is very much in the Simon Scarrow writing. Read more
Published 9 months ago by old man river
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